Tag Archives: Middle East

UAE Nuclear power plant project receives environmental approval

Mohamed Al Hammadi CEO Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. (ENEC) on July 15 said it received a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), the environmental regulator, for the construction of Barakah Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 and 2 in Abu Dhabi.

In issuing the NOC, EAD acknowledges the environmental aspects of the construction of the UAE’s first two reactors, based on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and the construction environmental management plan (CEMP), which were submitted by ENEC in 2010.

The ENEC said the receipt of the NOC is the next important step in a multi-year licensing process for the reactors.

In order to proceed with the construction of Units 1 and 2, ENEC must also receive a construction license from the UAE Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR). ENEC submitted its construction license application for Barakah Units 1 and 2 to FANR on December 27, 2010. The application includes, among other issues, site selection, technology, safety and quality control, and the construction process for Units 1 and 2.

“Nuclear energy is one of the ways in which Abu Dhabi is demonstrating its commitment to the environment, as nuclear energy plants emit almost zero carbon emissions during operations,” said Mohamed Al Hammadi, chief executive officer of ENEC.

Al Hammadi said the ENEC has plans to build four nuclear power plants by 2020, totaling 5,600 MW.

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23 April 2010 – The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) has announced it has chosen a site near the Saudi border for its first nuclear power station, due to come on stream in in 2017.

It said the facility will be built at Braqa, 53 km (33 miles) southwest of the Gulf coast town of Ruwais in western Abu Dhabi in a sparsely populated area of desert, reports AFP. The 13 square km site was chosen from ten sites across the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven emirates in which oil-rich Abu Dhabi is the largest.

The statement said ENEC hoped to secure the necessary authorization before 5 July so it can start building, with the aim of generating electricity by 2017. In late December, the UAE awarded a $20.4bn contract to build four nuclear power plants to a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO).

The consortium comprises KEPCO, Samsung, Hyundai and Doosan Heavy Industries, along with US firm Westinghouse, Toshiba of Japan and KEPCO subsidiaries, ENEC said.

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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Nuclear, Policy


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Major water project announced in Iran to "control growing desert"

Iran has officially launched the first phase of an ambitious project valued at US$ 1 billion to pump water from the Caspian Sea to a city in its vast and expanding central desert, state media reported.

The initial phase will see a desalination plant and pipes built over the next two years to supply water to the desert city of Semnan, population 200,000, according to officials.

“The desert is growing… therefore we need to control its growth,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the northern city of Sari, near the Caspian shore.

The first phase would see water for drinking, irrigation and industrial use taken from the Caspian, treated to rid it of salt, and pumped to Semnan, 150 kilometers (90 miles) away to the south.

Related article:  Dying Lake Gives New Life To Iran’s Antigovernment Protests

The first desalination plant to be built would have a capacity of 200 million cubic meters per year, or 548 million liters a day, according to Energy Minister Majid Namjou.

Khatam Al-Anbiya group, the industrial arm of Iran’s military Revolutionary Guards which has interests in key economic sectors, is handling work on the project.

Later, two other phases are planned that would pump more water into desert areas from the Caspian Sea and from the Gulf, the state media said.

Iran has operated several other desalination plants for decades for other regions. Such seawater treatment facilities are also in use in other wealthy and arid Middle East countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Israel, to augment scarce water supplies. –

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UAE Desalination Industry – Water, at a cost

Abu Dhabi, UAE (CNN) — During the summer months, in the arid, subtropical coastal plains of the United Arab Emirates, temperatures rise to 40 Celsius plus — while average rainfall is a desolate four inches a year.

And yet, in the years since the discovery of vast oil reserves in the late 1950s, a forest of skyscrapers, luxury apartments, verdant green gardens and golf courses has risen from the sand.

It’s been made possible only with recourse to unimaginably large amounts of water. Indeed, at 550 liters a day per person, Emiratis consume more per head of population than anyone else on earth.

“It just evaporates very, very quickly,” explains Ivano Iannelli, CEO of the Dubai Carbon Center of Excellence. “Then when you add the lifestyle requirements — the giant swimming pools; the cooling systems; the big gardens that need irrigating four times a day … it goes some way to explain why the water consumption is so high.”

With scarce native freshwater supplies, Iannelli says the oil-rich nation spends hundreds of million of dollars a year purifying coastal seawater. For a country that, according to OPEC, boasted over $74 billion crude-oil export revenue in 2010, the financial burden may seem relatively light. But the cost to the climate, says Iannelli, is certainly not.

“Desalination requires a lot of power … we estimate that about four tonnes of carbon are emitted per million gallons of freshwater produced here,” he says, with reference to the energy-intensive process of removing salt from seawater.

To put that figure in context, Iannelli says that the energy required to pump freshwater from underground (which, he says, is the most common source of drinking water in the West) typically produces just over 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per million gallons.

While large-scale desalination is not uncommon in those parts of the world where natural water resources are scarce — such as Texas and Australia — the UAE is by some margin, according to Iannelli, the industry’s most active player. In fact, 50% of all the world’s desalination takes place in the Gulf.

The Fujairah desalination plant in Abu Dhabi has a freshwater generation capacity of 492 million liters a day, making it the biggest single producer on the planet, according to Iannelli, who notes that it “totally dwarfs anything found in the West.”

For Dr Mohammad Dawoud, of the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency, this spells trouble for the future. “If we don’t conserve our water … I fear about our resources in the future for the next generation,” he says.

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Solar, Water


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Food and Water Security in the UAE

The seventeenth annual conference of food and water security was held in the United Arab Emirates on 25th and 26th of March, 2012 under the patronage of the Lt General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, wherein the conference had discussed 12 documents concerning the food and water crisis in the Arab world in general and the Gulf countries in particular.

What makes the conference an important memory is the new strategic challenges that the Gulf countries counter as the Gulf states are amongst the driest countries in the world and the most lacking in natural water resources.

Water is a b

asic requirement for food production. The daily drinking water requirement for one person is 2-4 litres yet it takes two to five thousand litres to produce one person’s daily food. As population growth and urbanization increase the demand for water, we are simultaneously witnessing a reduction in clean and fresh water access through drought, climate change, pollution and increased costs for desalination.

However, depending on desalinating sea water to obtain drinking water is an ineffective solution because desalination requires a vast investment of both capital as well as energy.


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Middle East – Going Green – Fact or Fiction ?

Think about Middle-Eastern OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates and what comes to mind? Is it the obvious: oil? Or is it solar energy, smart grids and green technology?

For a growing number of people in the Middle East and elsewhere, and for a growing number of reasons, the second answer is becoming a lot more common.

Perhaps the highest-profile example today is Masdar, the UAE-based initiative working to develop one of the world’s most sustainable planned cities: Abu Dhabi’sMasdar City. In partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the city is also designed to become a global hub for clean technology research through its Masdar Institute for Science and Technology.

(Siemens, another partner in the initiative, just won an architectural award for its planned Masdar City headquarters, which is being designed to meet LEED Platinum sustainability standards.)

Masdar, which develops clean-energy projects in other parts of the world as well, is also associated withtwo other programs with a heavy focus on clean energy and energy innovation: the Zayed Future Energy Prize and the World Future Energy Summit.

In Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, IDEA Polysilicon is targeting the world’s photovoltaics markets with plans to build a large-scale polysilicon plant in the city of Yanbu. Scheduled to begin operations in 2013, the facility is expected to be producing 12,000 tons of polysilicon a year by 2015.

“There is tremendous potential for solar energy in Saudi Arabia and the other states of the MENA (Middle East/North Africa) region, which enjoy a lot of sunshine, as solar power is extremely cost effective compared with other energy sources,” said Robert M. Hartung, CEO and chairman of Germany’s centrotherm photovoltaics, which is helping to engineer the Yanbu project.

Even Iran is eyeing a future based more on green than on black gold, especially as other nations have imposed sanctions on its oil exports. Reuters this week quoted Iranian Minister of Petroleum Rostam Qasemi as saying it’s time for the nation to begin developing a renewable-energy sector.

“Reliance on hydrocarbon resources in the long run is neither possible nor meets national interests,” Qasemi was quoted as saying. “Gradual reduction of oil consumption on the one hand and a revolutionary and swift move toward using renewable energies on the other hand are the only appropriate mechanisms which can help the country.”

While global politics might be helping to drive Iran’s green ambitions, other factors are also pushing the Middle East toward more sustainability. The specter of oil depletion is also creating more concern, particularly in Saudi Arabia, which is already finding itself keeping more of its oil at home to meet the energy needs of (and reduce the threat of unrest from) a rapidly growing population.

More and more, the part of the world that’s produced so much of the oil we all rely on appears to be coming to the realization that business as usual isn’t sustainable.

Did you know that….. – Solar, wind, and biomass plants garnered more investment than natural gas, oil, and coal in 2011

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Strong Demand Lifts Agribusiness Sales

Deere & Co., the world’s largest farm machinery maker, expressed a strong outlook for the global agribusiness sector in 2012. Positive global farming conditions, combined with the collective rising incomes of farmers, has lifted agribusiness sales “in spite of an unsettled global economy,” the company stated in a press release.

Deere reported record results in 2011, surpassing many Wall Street expectations.  Fellow agricultural giants, including Agco Corp and CNH Global, have also reported positive results for the year.

Deere expects farmers’ incomes to remain stable in the year ahead, given the sizable (and still growing) global demand for agricultural commodities.  The rising value of farmland in the United States is further contributing to the positive outlook.  U.S. farmland rose to 30 year highs in the July-to-September period.  This increase in land value came even as crop prices fell from their peaks earlier in the year.

Deere says expanded crop production and  increased financing opportunities in China along with high agricultural commodity prices in India contributed to strong performance in the Asian market.

Access to secure food supplies is crucial for growing nations in Asia and the Middle East.  Because demand is rising so dramatically, nations must increase domestic crop production where possible, or else be forced to satisfy new demand with expensive food imports.

As we have previously reported, this trend is accelerating in the Middle East, which is set to see food import levels double over the next decade.

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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Agriculture, Commodities


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Investment in Clean Energy May Double to $395bn by 2020

Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts strong growth in solar and off-shore wind energy may propel annual investments in clean energy to double by 2020, reaching an estimated $395 billion a year. By 2030, that figure may rise to $460 billion annually.

Within 20 years, the percentage of total world power generation supplied by clean energy may rise to 15.7% up from 12.6% last year.  This growth will continue despite the gloomy economic environment.

“Big winners over the next 20 years will be the emerging renewable energy hubs in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa – by 2020 the markets outside of the European Union, U.S., Canada and China will account for 50% of the global annual investment in renewable energy capacity,” said Guy Turner, director of commodity research.

The world’s current major players – China, Europe, The United States and Canada – will continue their investments in the sector.  China was the world’s leader in new clean energy investment last year with $51.1 billion, by far the largest expenditure of any country.

In 2009, Asia and Oceania overtook the Americas in terms of regional clean energy spending, and by 2014, it is likely to leap over the Europe, the current leader.

The most rapid growth in spending rates will come from India, the Middle East and Africa, where rates will grow between 10% – 18% over the next decade.  Emerging energy technologies are rising significantly in the world’s emerging markets.  We believe this trend is integral to our clean energy investment strategy.

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